Cast: George Peppard
       Dominique Sanda

Director: Jack Smight


SYNOPSIS:   Jan-Michael Vincent is Tanner, a young sidekick to Maj. Eugene Denton played by George Peppard. After the World War 3 nuclear explosion they are joined by Keegan, Paul Winfield, to embark on a search of any survivors and a signal from a radio station in Albany, N.Y. It may be just a recording replay but they must find out for sure. Along the way they fight some giant spiders, bugs, floods and dust storms in their specially made vehicle, called Landmaster, in order to survive. This film was originally titled Survival Run and Survival Road. Special effects are good for those times. Jan-Michael briefly sings in this movie.

FILM SCANS by Lorraine:

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FILM REVIEW by Lorraine:


For its day, this movie has some passable special effects and a plausible storyline.
The movie is based on the novel DAMNATION ALLEY by Roger Zelazny, who reportedly hated the movie version of his story.
George Peppard and Jan Michael Vincent are two Air Force officers working at a secret Air Force base in the California desert, where they are in control of nuclear missiles. They work together, but Peppard's character, Major Eugene Denton makes it clear to Tanner (Jan Michael Vincent) that he does not feel that they make a good work partnership.
The Third World War annihilates the US and supposedly the world - although it is never explained how or why it starts. After the nuclear winter and the nuclear dust cloud settles, we discover that Tanner and Denton and quite a large number of the men stationed at the base have survived the nuclear war. Tanner has left the Air Force, although he still lives on the base, and he is free to roam around the desert on his motorcycle.
A fire, started accidentally, causes several large explosions on the base and kills all but Tanner, Denton and their Sergeant Keegan (Paul Winfield) and Airman Tom Perry (Kip Niven) are the only survivors.
Perry and Denton have been working on a couple of tank like/caterpillar like machines called Landmasters, in the hope of setting out one day to find other survivors they know are out there because they have heard radio broadcasts, from Albany, New York.
And so they begin their journey. Denton has determined that there is only one route that they can take which will be safe - Damnation Alley.
Along the way we discover that the nuclear winter has caused certain mutations amongst the bug community, including giant scorpions and killer armour plated cockroaches that can strip a human body clean and also eat rubber and metal.
The movie follows the men's journey across America and introduces new characters at infrequent intervals, including Janice, (Dominique Sanda) a piano player and singer from Las Vegas and Billy, (Jackie Earle Haley) a young boy forced to survive on his own after the deaths of his parents, and killing off first Perry, then Keegan.
When this movie was made the world had been living under the very real threat of nuclear war for thirty years and back then the Russians were indeed the biggest threat to world peace, although the movie does not actually make it clear who the enemy is .
The movie is still very watchable, even today, and Jan Michael Vincent as the charming, sometimes reckless and rebellious, but nevertheless heroic Tanner, is excellent in this movie, and George Peppard as the senior, more experienced military man does an adequate job.
Highly recommended as a sci fi movie.
Score out 10 - 8.5

PAGE CREATED: 01/07/04 - UPDATED: 05/08/08

Origin: RCV / Toronto since 2003